Book Review: Tigers in the Mud

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sniper1shot
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Book Review: Tigers in the Mud

Post by sniper1shot » 14 Jan 2006 23:01

Title: Tigers in the Mud
Authour: Otto Carius
ISBN: 0-8117-2911-7 (Paperback)
Publisher:Stackpole
Stars 4.5
(out of 5)

Hello all and here we go in the New Year with my first review. I could not find a good original copy no matter how hard I searched so I bought the new reprint.
I was really impressed with the authours candid descriptions of his peers and superiors. That was good to read. You could get the feel of how the soldiers qualities over the war years changed from excellant to those that did not want to fight.
The battle descriptions are very vivid and you get the feel of actually being in the Tiger with the authour. I especially liked that description of the ambush of the Soviet column later in the war.
The Authour also keeps you up to date on how many Tigers were destroyed-recovered-repaired or were ready for each attack.
The only....and I mean only part I did not like was that there were not enough of these scenes described. The authour is credited with over 150 enemy vehicles/tanks destroyed yet if you add all that he has described you come no where near this total. Still, what has been described is well worth the book.
The photos are also excellant to look at and at the end of the book you can see the citations that Mr. Carius received for his awards and some after action reports that he filed for some of the attacks that he fought in.
There are only a couple of hand draw maps to show how a situation looked and no actual maps that show the units movements.
All in all an excellant memoir, in my opinion, worth getting.

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Andreas Leandoer
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Post by Andreas Leandoer » 16 Jan 2006 22:37

I am sorry to have to say this, but Otto Carius is not the best writer of his own experiences in the war. Apparently he was a party member and apparently he doesn´t feel that they did anything wrong in the war. He lacks self critisism in the book. That makes it at the best a 3 out of 5, nothing more.

Andreas Leandoer

sniper1shot
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Post by sniper1shot » 17 Jan 2006 06:00

That is your opinion and you are entitled to it. I personally have read worst books. This was not one of them. :roll:

Epaminondas
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Post by Epaminondas » 17 Jan 2006 19:09

Andreas, what is your source for Carius being a party member? Carius asserts he was asked by Himmelar, but refused to join in 1944 (or 1945, been a while since I've read it, and don't have it at work).

Besides which, his book is his recollections of his war service, not a book about German war crimes. As a member of a heavy tank battalion, and a talented tank commander, his job was to be on the front lines, not documenting war crimes.

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Andreas Leandoer
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Post by Andreas Leandoer » 17 Jan 2006 19:20

Did I mention war crimes??

Self critisism is a different thing. The whole Carius book is full of the lack of it. It´s more a question of "that germany had a bad PR-department" rather than that they did something wrong. And it is the same with all veterans describing guilt and the reasons for the war etc etc. Carius is the same. A total lack of self-critisism. That is why one has to be very careful when judging books written by veterans. They normaly lack self-critisism and they normaly lack the big picture. Many of them tend to be forgiving or deceiptful, some even worse. Carius have interesting facts about tank combat, but he lacks the better judgement of the war.

Andreas

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Post by sniper1shot » 17 Jan 2006 21:50

Well, as stated, that is your opinion.....however if I was to write MY memoir I would not critisize myself in it.
As for the big picture....he wrote about what he knew. The units he was in. That was it.
As for writing about the "big picture"...well again my friend, most verterans (of any country) only knew the immediate plan or "picture". Unless they were staff officers in the planning of the war. Why would you expect him to write on the judgement of the war or expect him to have a better understanding of it??
Why are you expecting him to know the whole picture of WWII on the German side?? He wrote about some battles and people he knew and fought in. That was it.....a personal memoir.
He also just wrote on the war, not the aftermath. That is why he can critisize the PR as you so put it.
I don't want to get into an argument on a book review, but it seems you might of expected something else of the book??

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Andreas Leandoer
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Post by Andreas Leandoer » 17 Jan 2006 22:05

I only expect the best of writers, especially as I am in the business of publishing military history myself, and I wouldn´t dream of publishing Carius without adding a good explanation to the lack of selfcritisism in the manuscript!

Andreas Leandoer
http://www.leforlag.se

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Andreas Leandoer
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Post by Andreas Leandoer » 17 Jan 2006 22:20

And besides that, Carius not knowing what happened in the war is not very likely. That is the standard excuse of all writers from the war.

Andreas

sniper1shot
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Post by sniper1shot » 18 Jan 2006 03:53

I do not believe an explanation of anything would be or is needed. It is just a personal memoir, but as stated earlier...to each their own.

On the topic of your company.....do you have an English part?

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Andreas Leandoer
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Post by Andreas Leandoer » 18 Jan 2006 07:31

Even personal memoirs need such explanations if written by the later accused side, but we have different opinions. C´est la vie!
Not yet, no need for an english part until we have distribution and sales in the english speaking world. But it will happen before summer this year.

Andreas Leandoer
http://www.leforlag.se

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Post by Andreas » 18 Jan 2006 16:28

A couple of OT posts were removed (Larso, sorry for including yours in this one, pressed the wrong button).

Uncle Joe, I have reminded you a couple of times to stay on topic in the reference section. Your post was totally irrelevant and uncalled for flamebait. Find yourself another forum if you want to throw mud at someone's opinion because of their nationality. If you don't have anything to add that is even vaguely related to the topic, refrain from adding anything at all.

I am really baffled why this is so difficult for you to grasp, so I will only add that the sooner you get this, the sooner I will be able to stop wasting my time in having to delete your posts.

Regards

Andreas

Epaminondas
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Post by Epaminondas » 18 Jan 2006 17:27

Shrug- well you are entilted to have your opinion of what a memior should be. Personally, I'd rather have an arguably flawed memior of a tiger vet such as Carius, then not have him write anything.

===

I'm still interested in your source for him being a party member.

And if you have any after action reports, or any other evidence contradiciting Carius' account that would be intersting as well.

---

While the Zetterling-Normandy discussion was heated, it did provide valuable insights as to the limitations of research, perspectives on necessary accuracy and how much salt one should take with a book.

Cites and sources are good to provide though.

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Der Weisse Wolf
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Post by Der Weisse Wolf » 18 Jan 2006 18:01

Andreas Leandoer wrote: They normaly lack self-critisism and they normaly lack the big picture. Many of them tend to be forgiving or deceiptful, some even worse. Carius have interesting facts about tank combat, but he lacks the better judgement of the war.
To be honest, if I read memoirs of tactical level combat veteran, I don't care if he was a party member or not, or whether he "lacks the better judgement of the war"(in peacetime theorists opinion!) or not. I'm sure the war is always dirty business and there is no "clean" stuff.
Everyone is biased in these questions that is for sure.

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Andreas Leandoer
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Post by Andreas Leandoer » 18 Jan 2006 20:00

Epamimondas,

Carius was asked by Himmler to join the Waffen SS instead of the army, not to join the party. I assume that he was a member as he doesn´t say that he wasn´t in the book!!

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Post by JonS » 18 Jan 2006 20:45

Der Weisse Wolf wrote:
Andreas Leandoer wrote: They normaly lack self-critisism and they normaly lack the big picture. Many of them tend to be forgiving or deceiptful, some even worse. Carius have interesting facts about tank combat, but he lacks the better judgement of the war.
To be honest, if I read memoirs of tactical level combat veteran, I don't care if he was a party member or not, or whether he "lacks the better judgement of the war"(in peacetime theorists opinion!) or not. I'm sure the war is always dirty business and there is no "clean" stuff.
Everyone is biased in these questions that is for sure.
Wolf, the way I read Andreas' critique is Carius wasn't self-critical in terms of the way he conducted his own battles. Not self critical in the sense of "oh, we were such bad Germans, invading all those countries." The same problem can be seen in Meyers 'Grenadiers' - he either glosses over his own tactical ineptitude (eg, 7-12 June), or completely omits it (eg, TOTALISE, 8 Aug). In fairness, the same could be said too about, for example, Montgomerys memoirs.

Slim's book, on the other hand, is a good example of a level 5 leader writing about himself - everything good that happened was either good luck or because of his subordinates actions, whilst everything bad that happened is his own fault and responsibility, and discussed in some detail to tease out the lessons-learned.

While rah-rah cheerleading memoirs make for rivetting boys-own type reading, they are substantially less valuable than they could be.

Regards
JonS

Edit: Forum weirdness, sorry :(

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